State gets a new minister

State gets a new minister

Renukacharya

Controversial legislator M P Renukacharya, who frequently raised revolts to step into the Yeddyurappa Cabinet, was finally sworn in as a minister in Bangalore on Thursday. Governor H R Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy to Renukacharya at a simple function at Raj Bhavan.

However, Renukacharya is far from being happy. He reportedly rejected the chief minister’s decision to allot him the Excise portfolio, earlier held by Katta Subramandya Naidu.

The Honnalli MLA is learnt to have told the chief minister that he was not willing to accept the portfolio as he has no “knowledge” of that department.

He comes from a rural background and, therefore, he is “interested in providing housing facility” to the poor. So, he wants Housing portfolio.

According to sources, Renukacharya had requested the chief minister to give him Housing portfolio even before the swearing-in ceremony. The chief minister has, however, given it to Katta as an additional charge.

Raj Bhavan issued a notification allocating Excise portfolio to Renukacharya on Thursday evening. But the notification copy was not released to the media following directions from the chief minister’s office.

With Renukacharya’s induction, the lone vacancy in the 33-member ministry has been filled.

Renukacharya, best known for being vocal while putting forth his demands and his involvement in the Jayalakshmi case, seems to have more enemies than friends in his party.

Meanwhile, several ministers and all the BJP legislators from Bangalore kept off the swearing-in ceremony. It is learnt that Ministers R Ashok, Naidu and B N Bache Gowda, among others, feel that the induction of Renukacharya would further tarnish the image of the party.

BJP state unit president D V Sadananda Gowda and party national general secretary and Bangalore South MP Ananth Kumar, too, were not present at the ceremony.

Renukacharya sought the blessings of the chief minister by touching his feet  soon after taking oath as minister.

The 47-year old legislator hit the headlines in June 2007 in the infamous Jayalakshmi case.  Jayalakshmi, a nurse in Davangere, had filed a complaint alleging that Renukacharya had sexually harassed her besides threatening her with a pistol. The MLA had also threatened to show obscene photographs of her to the media, it was alleged.

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